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Flybrian

Cracked oil pan = $5500 to replace

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As some of you may know, I busted my oil pan about a year ago on Tampa's infamously decrepit Kennedy Blvd. After calling a local shop who has always given me good service, I was quoted a price of $1200 to replace the oil pan because it was necessary to remove the engine and much of the transaxle to do it. First I thought they were ridiculously high, but after browsing the Aurora forums, I found that was a shockingly reasonable price given the day-and-a-half's worth of labor needed to do the job. People there have been quoted anywhere from $1000-4000 to do it. Some shops wouldn't even attempt it.

I set a new record for oil pan repair today by calling the local Cadillac dealership that half-ass serviced my car when it needed a transmission sensor replaced under warranty. Told them the story - small crack in pan, no huge gash, what could I do? I was told it needed to be replaced. Period. Couldn't be repaired because its aluminum and gets hot(??). They'd do it, though. Would take them three days and cost $5500. They also recommended replacing certain filters and such in the transmission since it would all be apart. I bet they do. That would add another $500. Told them thanks, whateva'...

My solution was implemented last year. A $40 tub of Cotronics thermal aluminum epoxy (like JB Weld but just for aluminum). The result? I drip a little bit of oil, about a half quart a month I figure depending on how much I drive. I plan on getting the mix better this autumn when the weather cools and patching it for good, but even at the current rate, for my low-ball $1200 price, I can just keep adding oil for 36 more years (6 qts/yr, $5.50/qt).

What struck me is that some people would use this as an excuse to simply get a new car. Rather, how dealer service departments use such excuses to get people into a new car.

Just my random thought for the day.

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Yup... gotta love those FWD boats with Northstar motors. That's 90% of the reason I got rid of the STS.

Good job on the "quick fix".

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One of the guys at work brought his SRX into the dealer for a bad timing chain the other day. They said it's a $2500 job (under warranty I'd imagine). How the hell is that a $2500 job?

But, yeah, that's like my neighbor selling her Grand Am for $800 to us for a bad waterpump, then going out and buying an HHR haha.

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In my experience, dealers are good for locating problems but not for fixing because they charge out the @$$. My local dealer does good work though, and they are very nice...but the cost quite a bit more than my regular mechanic.

Some things I might leave to the dealer, most I would leave to the mechanic.

This is somewhat like my light bulb issue in the gauge cluster. the temp guage light went out and shortly after half the tach went dark. I took it to the dealer and they wanted to charge me somewhere in the neighborhood of $290 to do it, assuming they "didn't break anything" They suggested I let it be since I could still read the gauges. On our way back from teh Tulsa trip (still need to post photos of that), the Cruise Control light went out...which I found to be rather annoying. So I went to the junkyard, found a junked Intrepid, leartned how to take teh dash apart...and then grabbed every light bulb in its dash. The junkyard was very nice and didn't charge me for the bulbs (1cuz they ddn't know I had them! :P). I took teh dash apart myself, replaced the bulbs, put it back together, broke nothing, and my dash is as good as new. 8)

Sometimes it pays to just do it yourself.

Edited by Dodgefan
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I would never even look at having a dealership do it. I bet it could be done in a day or two EASILY for about $200.00 including a pan gasket and oil/filter.

I would toss it on a hoist and see if there was any way possible to drop the pan- removing crossmembers or whatever, or even lifting the engine and sliding the pan out somehow. Might even be easier than thought.

If it was a re&re I would think two days, a buddy or two and a few beers...?

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Long story:

My 1985 Continental was on fire....twice. The first time I was driving along Route 422 about an hour north of Pittsburgh doing about 65mph when all of the sudden I lose all power. I coast as far as I can and come to a stop along side the road. Smoke is pour out from under the car. I get out and look under. My catalytic converters are on fire. A state trouper pulls up just in time and puts the fire out.

I have it towed to a Ford dealer. After two days to diagnose, they figure out it's a circuit board attached to the distributer that went bad. Distributer shut down and the engine fed raw fuel into the cats and they caught fire. $522 to fix.

I ask for a detailed estimate to see what's on it.

Parts...yada yada

labor... yada yada

then the best part....

$100 to remove my spark plugs, clean them, and reinstall the same plugs. He insisted the plugs would be fouled out.

Keep in mind that this isn't the transverse mounted, FWD Continental.... this is the longitudinal mounted V8 with spark plugs so easy to find your grandmother could to a plug and wire job.

Dealers will rip you for anything they can.

Never did change <or clean> those plugs.....

the second time it was on fire was terminal... the wiring harness shorted out and melted.

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I got rid of my Aurora because of a leak in the oil pan gasket. Changing it requires dropping the engine. I cannot stand oil leaks, and the Northstar is riddled with them. I would never, ever get another car with a Northstar, even though the new engines are supposed to be better.

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Couple more service stories:

One morning my F-150's brake pedal went straight to the floor. I limped it to the Ford dealer, they opened it up, said I needed front wheel cylinders & some brake lines (there may have been more). Quote: $1400. 'Button it up; I'm coming to get it.'... drove it home on the E-brake, did it all myself for around $400.

Same truck: I inadvertantly drove thru salt water in a flood down at the shore (no; I was not driving on the beach), which is a Very Bad Thing to do. A year later and the oil pan is rusted & seeping in one spot on the side. Online prices are around $300 for the pan alone, but online forums reveal raising the motor and detatching the trans is likely in order to get the pan out (I-6). I never asked a dealer- undoubtedly it would easily be a grand or 2. I used an epoxy gas tank repair kit for like $8 and it leaks no more.

My Chevy dealer (not the closest, but the original selling dealer) is a real small-town, old-school shop. Recently he replaced the steering shaft (he put it in under warranty, tho the truck is well out of warranty), of course there was the labor to install it, greased the suspension & did an oil/filter change (10 qrts with the DuraMax). $92. Unbelievable.

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ah, oil pan cracks... trip into a creek backwards but a tiny one in my 3.1 low oil sensor's area, black silicone and quite a few heat cycles sured up that crack and afaik hasn't leaked for about 2 years.

the pan was really cheap, but didn't feel like them needing to slide then engine toward the fender to work on it was worth the $$$$

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